It's been almost three years since Gossip Girl ended, but thanks to Netflix, it's still in regular rotation on my TV. And aside from Blair and Chuck, Dan and Serena are unquestionably my favorite couple on the show. It makes sense, when you consider the natural chemistry between Blake Lively and Penn Badgley, which can only be contributed to the fact that they dated while the show was still filming. Of course, they ended up breaking up and still had to face each other on set, which sounds like a nightmare... although according to Badgley's recent appearance on Watch What Happens Live, he definitely seems to have taken it in stride. Except for one little thing. Because of their breakup, Badgley admitted that Blake Lively was both his worst and best on-screen kiss.
Badgley's exact answer:
I'll say Blake [was the best] because we actually had a relationship at the time. And worst? Maybe Blake after we broke up. We were consummately professional, to be honest. I think we should both pat ourselves on the back for getting through it. You know, anything is complicated in that way, but we handled it.
Somehow, this is something I've never considered while watching the show before. Dan and Serena have always been Dan and Serena to me, so I haven't spent much time wondering about Penn Badgley and Blake Lively, the couple, or how awkward it must have been for them when they broke up in 2010. And since Badgley's open about the fact that it was difficult to kiss Lively after their split, I couldn't help but wonder if there's a difference in their on-screen chemistry from the time that they were dating to after they broke up.
There's only one way to figure this out. Time to compare!
During Their Relationship
This is a scene from a Season 2 episode, which aired in 2008 — about a year into Lively and Badgley's relationship, although they wouldn't have been dating for that long when it was filmed. In this scene, their chemistry is obvious. Even if you don't know they're dating in real life, you can tell these people actually at least like each other.
After Their Breakup
This is so cringeworthy. In this scene from Season 5, Dan and Serena have an impromptu hookup during a time when Dan is beginning to have feelings for Blair, and Serena is missing her old flame. Unfortunately, I don't think we can say the same for Lively's feelings about Badgley, because although their scenes are usually steamy, there's something about this one that's a little... off. They would've been broken up for at least a year if not more when this was filmed, and looking back, maybe the fact that these two are real life exes lent credibility to this scene. The fact that this is something both of them may not want to be doing isn't too overt, but the same connection isn't there that existed in the first scene.
Obviously, they've both moved on since then — Lively is married to Ryan Reynolds and probably has the cutest baby in the world, but I can't tell you for sure because she refuses to share pictures with us — so regardless of how they felt at the time, it's all good. Lively and Badgley may be over, but Dan and Serena are for life.